April 1st, 2010
02:03 PM ET

How will the new fuel standards affect you?

The Obama administration rolls out its new gas mileage standards for cars and trucks Thursday. The fuel efficiency targets for 2016 model vehicles is 39 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for light trucks (more than 34 mpg combined). President Obama says the new rules will "reduce our dependence on oil while helping folks spend a little less at the pump." The standards, to be phased in between 2012 and 2016, would increase fuel efficiency by 5 percent each year. Currently, cars must average 27.5 mpg and trucks must get 24 mpg.

Fact Check: How much oil will new fuel standards save, and how will the environment and individual drivers benefit?

- Light-duty vehicles subject to the new rules account for about 40 percent of all U.S. oil consumption, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The program, which covers model years 2012-2016, will conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil, the DOT estimates. That's twice the amount of oil imported from Persian Gulf countries in 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. President Barack Obama says that's the equivalent of taking 58 million cars off the road for an entire year.

- The Obama administration estimates that compliance with the new rules will raise the price of each vehicle by about $1,300 (some auto-industry estimates are higher). People who purchase their vehicle outright would save enough in fuel costs over the first three years to offset the higher vehicle costs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. And the Department of Transportation says consumers would save more than $3,000 in fuel costs over the lifetime of a model year 2016 vehicle.

- Supporters of the program say it also would encourage a greater number of alternative fuel vehicles in the near future. Gasoline and diesel currently account for about 84 percent of the energy used to transport people and goods in the United States. Cars, motorcycles and light trucks mainly use gasoline while heavy trucks, buses and trains depend mostly on diesel, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

- New EPA and NHTSA standards would cut carbon dioxide emissions for light-duty vehicles by about 21 percent in 2030 over the level that would occur without any new greenhouse gas or fuel economy standards, according to the DOT. The department says the program's greenhouse gas emission reductions would be the equivalent of removing 42 million cars from the road.

- Bottom Line:

The new fuel economy standards being signed by the president Thursday will noticeably reduce U.S. oil consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers who buy new cars will pay more for them, but they'll use less gasoline. And they will save money at the pump if gas prices remain at reasonable levels.

- Got something that needs checking? E-mail us at factcheck@cnn.com

Post by:
Filed under: Fact Check
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Lloyd

    So, they'll charge you 5 grand more for your new vehicle and you'll save 3 grand over ten years ???? Doesn't really sound like a bargain to me.

    April 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chance

    I know how to get better milage. Drive a pop can with an engine on it. That's what the new
    cars will be. They have no answer for these new standards. This is more government in your face.

    April 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cal

    Llyod – Where did you get $5,000 number? The article above said $1,300. Did you just invent that number so you could make an erroneous point or is that the official number the GOP is using in all propagando on this topic?

    April 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    Ultimately gas will go up also, states will increase the gas tax after they find out how much money they are losing because people are filling up less…

    April 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. to lloyd

    this reduces dependence on foreign oil and will help combat higher gas prices...how can you complain?

    April 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Simon

    ...and the "$3,000 savings over the lifetime of the vehicle" is based in the current price of gasoline. I wlil bet anyone right now that the cost of a gallon of gasoline will be closer to $10 than $5 by 2016 and more like $20 by 2020. You will be driving something the size of a so called "Smart Car" that gets 200 MPG by 2025 if you are still driving at all.

    People seem to think that their right to drive huge inefficient gas guzzler on cheap gas supercedes the laws of supply and demand.

    April 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matthew

    It doesn't really matter, peak oil will have made the oil prices so high by then that our economy will have collapsed and very few people will be able to afford cars because they won't have jobs. I mean, more-so than it has already, most people think $84/barrel with 10.4% unemployment is pretty bad. These mpg improvements are too little too late.

    April 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PtrRamos

    While a step in the right direction, it simply isn't enough. People we know in Germany already drive a family car between 45 and 50 mpg. And it isn't expensive high tech either. The U.S. environmental policies have been a danger for the planet for years now. There is a lot to be proud of in this country, but this total lack of responsibility will come back to us in the view of the people around the globe like an ugly schrankschande that pops out its head when the boss comes to visit. But then, we should not be driven by shame and embarrassment but by our determination what is good, just and right ... for us, for people around the world, for future generations.

    April 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |